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But how interesting and promising is it to contemplate the opportunity which the present state of society presents, invites, and, on the other hand, almost insists on, for improvement! How desirable, yet almost awful, is the situation of the main-spring of the Great British machine in the present day! 'Tis true that if this opportunity be now neglected, it may continue to present with still more threatening aspect on one side, and still more powerful attractions and greater facilities of application on the other: but shall any time be lost in availing ourselves of the invaluable opportunity ? Whether we look at the various disadvantages of society, or the natural means of combatting them, or the auxiliaries to be found in the general attainments and information of society, all tend to the same conviction; all present both imperious demands and inviting facilities. Oh that they may not be neglected! But how would the fair fame of the preceding great descend towards mediocrity, compared

to those, who, wielding the mighty resources of mind and of power of this mighty nation, should raise her from her mass of misery and crime, contribute to the happiness of almost every individual in it, and lay foundations which may last on earth while the earth lasts, and bloom above for ever, because acceptable to Him, the CREATOR of man, who condescendeth to will the happiness of all! Still the disadvantages under which the people of England yet labour, appear to be no more in our present demoralized state than are needful to keep us from swerving still further from the will of our MAKER. When our first parents were innocent, and walked in all the will of the GREAT FIRST CAUSE, and dwelled in His light, they were, and would always have been, abundantly provided for; but once opening the door to temptation, which they never could afterwards effectually or permanently close, work was needful to keep them out of mischief, and their descendants running still more counter to the will of the SUPREME, they were not only scourged by the diseases entailed on their vices, and the cruelties of man to man; but also famines, pestilence, and earthquakes, were frequent; and subsided in no very slight degree in PROPORTION as the moral and religious state of mankind improved; so that as they advanced in vice or virtue, their very nature frowned or smiled upon them. If any doubt this fact, let him look at history, where they run on in parallel lines ; and since the revival of the Christian religion in no mean approach towards its original purity under the denomination of reformed religion, protestantism, &c., where have been the droughts so often before occurring, and producing death by starvation to large proportions of the human race? Where the pestilence spreading over whole kingdoms ? Where the earthquakes and eruptions burying the largest and finest cities scores of feet below the surface of the elements of their

destruction ? Now, however little thought of, is there not sound reason to believe, that by taking the preparative step of endeavouring, more particularly in a government capacity, to propitiate the Divine Being, by suffering no ideas of expediency or revenue to promote any sort of licentiousness, by opposing those crimes MOST which we have reason to think are most offensive to Him, and while humbly endeavouring to promote His will, also carefully abstaining from those dictations to the consciences of man on that all-important subject of vital religion which is only in the power of Divinity to convey, we might go on to legislate honestly, simply, and effectually, to the enormous reduction of crime, and increase of the happiness, respectability and power of the state ?. But while so much crime is in continual operation, much increase of wealth and ease would, by giving the devil extended opportunity, involve much increase of offence to God; so that is there not substantial reason to believe it inconsistent with the best interests of men, that he should be much more at his ease until he is more prepared to enjoy all as of His favour, and seek continually to be preserved from offence to Him? The writer apprehends that he sees unquestionably, that England, bad as she may be considered, would, with the present feelings and habits of her population, be far worse than she is, if she were far more prosperous; and it does not appear to be in the ordering of infinite wisdom and justice to compel men to be happy; perhaps it would be incompatible with the encouragement of that gratitude and love, and that unqualified value of His favour, which HE condescends to receive from our hearts: those who admit this will probably allow that even for attaining worldly prosperity to the nation, the chief and primary object of legislators should be to provide for all proper means of discountenancing vice, not by passing one hundred times as many laws as are

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